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Stunting, a severe and multigenerational growth impairment, globally affects 22% of children under the age of 5 years. Stunted children have altered gut bacterial communities with higher proportions of Proteobacteria, a phylum with several known human pathogens. Despite the links between an altered gut microbiota and stunting, the role of bacteriophages, highly abundant bacterial viruses, is unknown. Here, we describe the gut bacterial and bacteriophage communities of Bangladeshi stunted children younger than 38 months. We show that these children harbor distinct gut bacteriophages relative to their non-stunted counterparts. In vitro, these gut bacteriophages are infectious and can regulate bacterial abundance and composition in an age-specific manner, highlighting their possible role in the pathophysiology of child stunting. Specifically, Proteobacteria from non-stunted children increased in the presence of phages from younger stunted children, suggesting that phages could contribute to the bacterial community changes observed in child stunting.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Cell host & microbe
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A species of the genus YERSINIA, isolated from both man and animal. It is a frequent cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in children.
Viruses whose hosts are bacterial cells.
Rupture of bacterial cells due to mechanical force, chemical action, or the lytic growth of BACTERIOPHAGES.
A technique of bacterial typing which differentiates between bacteria or strains of bacteria by their susceptibility to one or more bacteriophages.
Genomes of temperate BACTERIOPHAGES integrated into the DNA of their bacterial host cell. The prophages can be duplicated for many cell generations until some stimulus induces its activation and virulence.
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